Fox contributor says Americans will need to ‘hunker down’ a little longer

There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about “reopening” the country in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic — but according to one Fox News contributor, Americans will need to “hunker down” a little longer.

Dr. Nicole Saphier warned on Fox & Friends Weekend on Saturday that “if we open up too fast, too soon…[America is] just going to be in the same place again in a couple of months,” the network reported.

Maps and models

Speaking Saturday, the doctor pointed to a new predictive model issued by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that, according to Fox, is based on all of the available data from a variety of countries impacted by the coronavirus. The model uses advanced artificial intelligence to predict the further spread of the disease, Fox reported.

It can also predict how effective various measures at combatting the disease’s spread will be.

“In the case of the [United States], our model captures the current infected curve growth and predicts a halting of infection spread by April 20,” MIT researchers Raj Dandekar and George Barbastathis wrote of the model, according to Fox. They went on:

On the other hand, we forecast that relaxing or abandoning the quarantine policies gradually over the period of the next 17 days may well lead to approximately one million infections without any stagnation in the infected case count by mid-April 2020.

“We have to be careful”

But Saphier told the network that “we don’t need this model to tell us that.”

“We know this. We know if we open up too fast, too soon that we’re just going to be in the same place again in a couple of months,” she said Saturday, according to Fox. “We have to be careful when we look at models, because…models aren’t necessarily predictive of the future.”

Still, the doctor suggested that the MIT model may be “a little bit more accurate” than most.

“MIT specifically looked at the virus causing COVID-19,” she said. “And what they are showing is we can’t just say now we are at the equilibrium or that plateau phase, and now we can start opening.

“So we have to be very careful when we are starting to reopen the economy, but we have to reopen the economy,” she added, according to Fox. “We have to start doing that. But we really need to hunker down for a little bit more to make sure that we continue to see [a] decrease in cases.”

“Under siege”

The U.S. had more than 750,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Sunday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker, and over 40,000 deaths. Numerous reports have indicated that the number of new cases is declining in America’s hotspots, like New York, but as doctors like Saphier have said, it may be too early to let our guard up.

That said, Americans are getting antsy. Protests have taken place in states like Michigan, Virginia, and Minnesota in light of social and economic restrictions put in place by state leaders in response to the pandemic, restrictions that some have called “draconian.”

For his part, President Donald Trump has expressed optimism about reopening the country and support for protesters rallying for the cause. “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” he wrote in a tweet Friday, according to Business Insider. “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” he said in another.

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